Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

The state of Virgin Galactic

The state of Virgin Galactic. Key quote:

One of the great things about Galactic is that it’s still built on a non-government market — that is to say, the individual spacefarer market, the space tourist market, call it what you will. As you know, we’re now over 400 people [who have paid deposits for a spaceflight], and over $55 million dollars in deposits. None of that is based on a government program. I think that’s really encouraging. It’s a sign that there are markets outside the government, and that you can build a human spaceflight business around those markets.


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  • Kelly Starks

    Excluding Virgin Galactics orbital work which is focused almost solely on the NASA market.

  • Chris L.

    I didn’t know Virgin was offering orbital flights to anyone, let alone NASA.

  • Kelly Starks

    VG recently allowed it was co funding 2 companies development of launch systems to support the possible commercial crew transport (crew to ISS) contract for 2015-2020, and specified they would also carry tourists with the crews.

    Note they mentioned it could also support Bigelow station, that wouldn’t be enough to warrent development.

  • Kelly, so didn’t you just contradict yourself? How’s that cognitive dissonance going?

  • Chris L.

    If there is a market for suborbital flights (and VG obviously thinks there is), why wouldn’t there be a market for orbital ones?

  • Chris, why even ask? The Russians have sold every seat they’ve ever made available. They haven’t even discovered the price point yet. Worse yet, they force the customers to go through the horrible cosmonaut training, and they do it. They recently just announced they’ve increased production to provide 3 more seats per year starting in 2013. What more evidence do you want?

  • Kelly Starks

    > Kelly, so didn’t you just contradict yourself?


  • Kelly Starks

    > If there is a market for suborbital flights (and VG obviously thinks there is), why wouldn’t there be a
    > market for orbital ones?

    Theres obviously some market. But at the $50 million per seat the Rusians are chargnig for a ride on the Soyuz, they’ve only found a couple buyers. Not a real problem given the Rusians can’t build a lot of Soyuz, and its currently fully booked just carrying the handfull of folks the ISS can support. (Effectivly to fly a tourist a NASA or Russian (or other) astrounaut doesn’t get to go.) But that size tourist market, of a couple folks ever couple years, is to small to warrent designing or building stuff just to support tourists. If the cost was a lot less, you’ld likely get a lot more tourists. But no one knows how many at what cost, so they can’t work out a profitable busness plan.

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